One of the running subplots in the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" era was the tension between mutants and Inhumans over the Terrigen Mist, a free-floating cloud that transforms humans into Inhumans, but was deadly to mutants. While readers discovered that former X-Men leader Cyclops was one of the casualties of Terrigen poisoning in the "Death of X" miniseries, his significant other, Emma Frost, was the only one who knew the truth of what happened to Scott Summers. Sensing opportunity, the former White Queen tricked the rest of the world into believing Black Bolt murdered Cyclops on the battlefield.
With mutants only having a short amount of time left before the Earth became uninhabitable due to the threat of the Terrigen Cloud, the X-Men-led faction faced off with the Inhumans in the appropriately titled "Inhumans vs. X-Men" #6 by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule and Leinil Francis Yu. By the end of the issue, it's clear Emma was the central character in "IvX," manipulating events to suit her selfish needs while also establishing a new status quo: a return to her evil ways, this time as a mass murderer, with a new costume and a whole new outlook on life.
Emma Frost Has Returned To her Villainous Roots
Emma Frost made her debut in 1980's "Uncanny X-Men" #129, by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. As a member of the Hellfire Club, Emma was in constant opposition to the X-Men up until her students, a group of young mutants known as the Hellions, were killed by a group of mutant-hunting Sentinels. She then found herself siding with the X-Men, even taking on a mentorship role in the "Generation X" series, and joining the X-Men full-time. Emma lasted many years as a protagonist, but it will be hard to look at her the same way after her actions in "IvX" #6.
In the wake of Cyclops' death, Emma is out for blood for perceived transgressions by the Inhumans. In the series' final issue, she crosses a major line when she commits mass murder against members of the Ennilux group run by Black Bolt and Medusa's son, Ahura. What makes the act even more heinous is that Emma took over Magneto’s mind, essentially turning him into her magnetically-powered puppet.
There’s something poetic about Emma using Magneto's body and powers to attack the Inhumans just after she utilized a new batch of Sentinels to kill the Inhumans, an act that harkens back to the time the master of magnetism once killed the crew of a Russian submarine in “Uncanny X-Men” #150. That event led to a major X-Men storyline which found Magneto on trial, and eventually set him on the road to redemption. It's too early to say for certain, but we could see Emma heading down a similar path at some point in the distant future, but for now, she's officially the most evil and dangerous mutant on the planet.
Mutant Public Enemy #1
As IvX comes to a close, Emma has come full circle and appears to be 100% back to her villainous roots after years and years of being a flawed hero. Whereas Cyclops can be viewed as either hero or villain depending on what side of the argument you fall on, Emma's current state is clear: once news spreads about her actions, she's likely be viewed as having supplanted Magneto as Mutant Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the world; she's certainly in that role in the eyes of the X-Men and Inhumans already.
But how did she get to this point? Underneath it all, Emma had the best of intentions in mind: to save mutant kind from extinction, and once the Nuhumans alert Medusa that the Terrigen Cloud will indeed render Earth unlivable for mutants (this has been up for debate, with the Inhumans spending the event believing another solution was possible), the Queen makes the hardest choice of her life by destroying the very thing that allows Inhumans to reach their full potential. With the cloud gone, that should be the end of the conflict, but Emma doesn’t see it that way. She still wants revenge for Cyclops’ death, whether Black Bolt truly committed the crime or not. His death was caused by the Terrigen Cloud, so all Inhumans are to blame. In short, this is a personal vendetta.
There are moments where Emma is basking in her evil deeds with an almost psychotic look on her face. At one point, she gives a monologue comparing mutants and Inhumans, reminiscent of the type of speech an evildoer would give as they gloat over their opponent.
In the final moments of “IvX” #6, we learn that Emma Frost has gone underground, an enemy of both the X-Men and Inhumans. Her surroundings look similar to those of the Hellfire Club, but what’s most intriguing is her change in wardrobe. The former White Queen is now dressed in an outfit reminiscent of the Black Queen's attire, with an added helmet shaped similar to Magneto’s with Cyclops’ red X over the eyes. Is this an homage to the two characters she’s replacing in the public’s eye? And is it merely for decoration, or is it a new Cerebro?
The Trial of Emma Frost?
“Uncanny X-Men” #200 placed Magneto on trial for his terroristic acts in #150; could Emma’s new character arc mirror Magneto’s in a similar fashion? After orchestrating events of this magnitude, one can only imagine what else she has in store for the world and her quest to avenge Cyclops.
The X-Men have a history of putting their figures in story arcs where they must answer for their actions. Two beloved X-Men, Jean Grey and Hank McCoy, recently starred in such storylines: “The Trial of Jean Grey” and “The Trial of Hank McCoy,” respectively. “The Trial of Jean Grey” involved a crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy and saw the time-displaced young Jean Grey put on trial by the Shi’ar for actions taken by her adult self. “The Trial of Hank McCoy” concluded writer Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the X-Men franchise and involved an intervention for Beast’s role in tampering with the time stream and bringing the original five X-Men from the past to the present.
Once the X-Men catch up with Emma Frost, there's a good chance we'll be looking at “The Trial of Emma Frost.” And since the Inhumans have a bone to pick with her as well, it could lead to another crossover between the Marvel Universe's outcast franchises.